Return To Main Article
Panelist Barry Zipp of
MCI answers our questions:
Q. IP Telephony's market share is increasing. What are your
predictions for continued growth of IP Telephony in the Enterprise space?
What about in the service provider space?
A. The pace at which IP telephony has
developed from both a technological and end user acceptance standpoint has
been remarkable. Much of the growth has been based on cost savings.
However, we expect features and applications enabled through the
convergence of voice and data on a converged IP infrastructure will
further accelerate IP technology expansion. Applications such as
messaging, conferencing, and contact center services will take on an
increased significance for VoIP.
IP contact centers in particular represent a
significant market opportunity in the IP Telephony space. Features such
as blended media (voice, instant messaging, email, fax, and video),
co-browsing, presence management, and click-to-talk applications will
continue to be the most prominent enhanced applications. Other
applications like network-based call waiting and virtual second line
applications will enable even more enhanced remote agent capabilities.
Service providers today are faced with a set of formidable challenges: how
to grow revenues and attract new customers while working within reduced
capital budgets. Hosted voice (ie: IP Centrex or hosted PBX services) will
enable service providers to realize both objectives. There is a huge
market opportunity in hosted voice. Studies in the SMB space have shown
that most companies will outsource their services to a carrier if it
enables them to scale affordably and reduces their need to manage CPE.
Because one size does not fit all, carriers
will have to be able to support both premises-based and hosted solutions,
thereby enabling customized solutions for all size customers. Ultimately,
providers that educate, inform and provide pragmatic solutions will be
most likely to gain the trust and business of enterprise customers.
Q. How do IP Telephony systems compare to
legacy systems on a cost basis? Does it make financial sense to move from
legacy systems to IP telephony? And what of the "soft" cost savings
(productivity, ease of use)...? What impact does that have on the decision
to adopt new technology?
A. The primary driver for IP Telephony
has consistently been cost savings. Enterprises are realizing savings in
transport usage, access, moves/adds, equipment, and cabling.
IP Telephony also provides significant soft cost
savings. The technology promotes staffing savings by combining IT
and Telecom staffs. It boosts employee
productivity with enhanced applications such as unified communication
management, collaborative tools, and remote employee applications.
Equally important, the technology enables the enterprise to quickly adapt
to changing business conditions by adding/removing users, quickly
modifying auto-attendants, voicemail platforms etc.
Hosted solutions in particular deliver even
greater efficiencies by enabling enterprises to realize the benefits of
next generation features and services without the hassle and expense of
managing CPE. They also provide a more economical means to connect a
distributed workforce with remote agent capabilities.
Both hard and soft cost savings should be
included as part of the enterprise�s TCO analysis when contemplating an IP
are some of the specific steps the industry needs to take in order to
ensure continued growth and user adoption of IP Telephony? What are some
potential pitfalls and how should they be avoided?
A. Despite a rocky start, IP telephony
has now evolved into a technology that delivers the features, scalability,
and reliability that enterprises have come to expect in legacy systems.
Technology performance is therefore a key factor we all need to keep an
eye on. While enterprises are looking to the technology as way to save
money and increase efficiencies, they won�t adopt it if the performance
adversely affects their ability to do business.
We should also continue to research and
identify a wide and deep suite of high-value applications that enable
businesses to do business better. Features and services should be
packaged and competitively priced to realistically meet customer
requirements. The technology should deliver business enhancing
capabilities that create efficiencies and simplify customer business
In the hosted IP voice space, it is critical
that providers offer reliable service and responsive customer service;
otherwise customers may find they are better served managing their own CPE.
Lastly, as the IP Telephony marketplace
evolves so may the legal and regulatory landscape.
Return To Main Article
Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments.
Participate in our forums.
reprints of this article by calling (800) 290-5460 or buy them directly
online at www.reprintbuyer.com.